As firm leaders expand their firm’s footprint, account-based marketing (ABM) should be part of their plan. It can help you identify and cater to a specific market through the sales and marketing team’s efforts.
What is account-based marketing?
Gitnux summarizes (ABM) like this, “Account-based marketing (ABM) is an increasingly popular form of B2B marketing that focuses on targeting individual accounts instead of large groups or an entire market.”
What does that mean? It means that your sales and marketing teams work in tandem to create personalized experiences – content, events, promotions, and solutions – for specific, high-value accounts rather than blanket approaches, such as by industry or service line.
For those looking for a quick primer, WebFX created a six-minute video.
Why does my firm need ABM?
With traditional, lead-based marketing, when someone completes a task, such as a form fill, download, or click through, a value is assigned. Those folks are then moved into a marketing qualified lead funnel and could take months (or years) to convert to a client. Also, those leads equate to a single person. Often when wooing a client, there are multiple decision makers rather than one person.
In June 2022, Hinge Marketing released “Why a B2B Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Strategy Must Be A Priority,” which says traditional and digital marketing and sales tactics aren’t working as well as they once did.
So, why does an accounting firm need ABM? To:
- Improve its customer acquisition process.
- Increase the pace of its sales process.
- Articulate a clear path to ROI.
- Enhance cost efficiency.
- Reduce the length of its sales cycles.
- Enrich client relationships.
To take your firm’s marketing strategy to the next level, consider these steps:
- Insist on the alignment between your marketing and sales teams.
- Conduct research to identify premium clients.
- Create account plans to map out potentials leads.
- Identify online (e.g., ad placements, podcasts, newsletters, social media, publications, and blogs) and offline places (e.g., interviews, events, and conferences) to get in front of your primary targets. (See Gartner example.)
DocuSign, wanting to increase their traffic and opted for an ABM approach. Increasing click-thru-rates was the priority in addition to boosting the number of conversations with the accounts most likely to buy.
What They Did
The DocuSign team initiated a targeted display ad campaign for over 450 enterprise accounts. The ad messaging was personalized to buying stage and industry. Six industries were targeted, with specific images, logos, and testimonials. Customized, industry-specific content was also shared.
Results of DocuSign’s ABM campaign included:
- 22% increase in sales pipeline across the six industries;
- 59% engagement rate;
- 300% increase in page views and;
- 26% decrease in bounce rate.
Moving from a lead-based marketing model to an ABM model is challenging, even for the best marketing and sales teams.
The first roadblock is to remedy randomly-stored data in a CRM or MAP tool, such as anonymous website visits, 3-rd party research, and false form fills, and how it aligns with a customer’s journey.
The second roadblock is the sales and marketing team misalignment. If the teams are siloed and use disparate data and metrics, getting them to agree on a single approach could be challenging. The goal of ABM is getting sales, marketing, and even operations working toward the same objectives and using the same data sources and metrics.
Data distrust is the next roadblock. When there are data gaps, confidence lacks, and inaccurate and unreliable data, how can your marketing and sales teams feel confident they are driving toward the right results? Artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and your tech stack can instill the confidence needed to reach goals.
The final roadblock is your tech stack. 6Sense writes, “A platform that integrates seamlessly with your CRM, marketing automation platform, and web personalization tools, that gives the entire revenue team the same view into which accounts are showing meaningful activity, where they are in their buying journey, and what efforts are working to get them moving through the funnel.”
If you want to take your firm’s marketing initiatives to the next level, using an ABM strategy might be your next step. Your tech stack and team must be up to the task, which means an investment in software, education, and time.